Materia Medica Malaysiana

November 3, 2008

Nipah virus threat ‘under control’

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:29 am

NST: SUBANG JAYA: The Health Ministry has given an assurance that its Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is always on the alert for the Nipah virus.
“Our centre is advanced. In fact, we were the ones who identified the Nipah virus and we know how to control it,” Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said after launching the Health Day campaign organised by the Women Development Organisation of Malaysia and Puchong MCA division here yesterday.
“We are confident if there is an outbreak, we will know the source and be able to handle it. I don’t think there is a threat here.”
Liow said there has been no new cases of the Nipah virus in the country since the 1998-1999 outbreak when more than 100 people died.
None of the 649 encephalitis cases reported to the ministry from 2000 to October this year was caused by the Nipah virus.
The minister was commenting on the New Sunday Times front-page report “Nipah virus still a threat”, which said that Universiti Malaya’s department of medicine did not rule out the possibility of another Nipah outbreak in the country.
The NST quoted the department’s consultant neurologist Dr Tan Chong Tin as saying the country was vulnerable as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and India have discovered bats infected with the Nipah virus.
Dr Tan had also said the movement of labour across borders could also pose a threat to Malaysia, home to migrant labour from these countries.
Liow said there was little evidence that the foreigners posed a threat. “The risk they carry is small or non-existent.”

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